This book consists of incisive and imaginative readings of culture, politics, and history – and their intersections – in eastern India from the 16th to the 20th century. Focusing especially on Assam, Odisha, Bengal, and their margins, the volume explores Indo-Islamic cultures of rule as located on the cusp of Mughal-cosmopolitan and regional–local formations.
Tracking sensibilities of time and history, senses of events and persons, and productions of the past and the present, the volume unravels intimate expressions of aesthetics and scandals, heroism and martyrdom, and voice and gender. It examines key questions of the interchanges between literary cultures and contending nationalisms, culture and cosmopolitanism, temporality and mythology, literature and literacy, history and modernity, and print culture and popular media.
The book offers grounded and connected accounts of a large, important region, usually studied in isolation. It will be of interest to scholars and students of history, literature, politics, sociology, cultural studies, and South Asian studies.
Table of Contents
List of Contributors. Preface. Introduction: Histories and Sensibilities I History and Historians 1. Gautam, Ever My Friend 2. Learning History, Teaching History II Objects, Metaphors, Temporalities 3. Cards and Culture: Cultural Cosmopolitanism in Mughal India 4. Myths, Metaphors, Meanings: Kalapahar in Bengal and Orissa 5. The Surrender of Jagabandhu Bakshi: Kingship, Insubordination, and the Discrepant Histories of the Paik Rebellion in Orissa, 1803–1825 6. Olden Times: Watches, Watchmaking, and Temporal Culture in Calcutta, c. 1757–1857 III Memory, Politics, Culture 7. Martyrdom in Revolutionary Nationalism: Mourning, Memory, and Cultural Politics 8. Premchand and the Climax Manqué of Indian History 9. Making of a Radio Programme: Birendra Krishna Bhadra and Mahila Majlish in the Early Calcutta Radio Station, 1929–1938 IV Literature, Nation, Modern 10. Vernacular for the Nation: Hemchandra Goswami’s Typical Selections from Assamese Literature 11. Japan and Asian Destiny: India’s Intellectual Journey Through Contemporary Periodicals, 1880s–1930s 12. Tracking the Ephemeral: Elokeshi-Nabin-Mohanto Episode and the History of Print in Bengal 13. Literary Traditions in Pre-Print Bengal and their Legacy in an Age of Print. Index
Ishita Banerjee-Dube is Research-Professor at the Centre for Asian and African Studies, El Colegio de México, México City, and a member of the National Scheme of Researchers, CONACyT, Mexico where she holds the highest rank. Her research interests include religion, law and power; language and identity; caste and politics; food, gender and nation, and postcolonial studies, with special focus on Odisha (and Bengal and Mexico) over the 19th and 20th centuries. She has authored four books, including the most recent A History of Modern India (2015). Among her twelve edited volumes are Cooking Cultures (2016) and Caste in History (2008).
Sarvani Gooptu is Professor of Asian Literary and Cultural Studies at the Netaji Institute for Asian Studies, Kolkata, India, and was Associate Professor of History at Calcutta Girls’ College from 1997 to 2016. Her research interests are culture, nationalism, and gender studies in Asia. Her book The Actress in the Public Theatres of Calcutta came out in 2015 and Dwijendralal Roy and the Rise of Nationalism is forthcoming.